A grim picture of Michael Schumacher's state of health has been revealed, with the German racing legend confined to a wheelchair and incapable of speech.

Former racer Philippe Streiff said the German is "getting better" at home under the care of his wife Corrina, but things are "very difficult".

Speaking to a French radio station, Streiff, 59, said: "He is getting better but everything is relative. It's very difficult. He can't speak. Like me, he is in a wheelchair paralysed. He has memory problems and speech problems."

Updates about Schumacher have been scant since his discharge from a Lausanne hospital in France, due to a veil of secrecy from his family.

News that Schumacher cannot speak and has memory problems may not be surprising considering the seriousness of his injuries, but the details throw some doubt on claims he could recover within three years.

The German suffered catastrophic head injuries while skiing in the French Alps last year, after falling and cracking his head on rocks.

Streiff himself is confined to a wheelchair following a racing accident in 1989 and was seen visiting Schumacher at Lausanne.